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Delving Into the 12th Malaysia Plan

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The 12th Malaysia Plan has been unveiled today aiming to create a more inclusive, sustainable and high-income country in the next five years. First, we examine the broad strokes of the plan. Then, we explore whether it is enough to set us on the path to economic recovery. And finally, with the plan’s big promise of inclusivity, we find out if it delivered.

The 12th Malaysia Plan: Decisive or Divisive?

The 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP)  highlights a number of areas touched upon in REFSA’s own 12MP wishlist. As an initial response, Iskandar notes that REFSA would have liked to see more elaboration on how the government intends to make the Malaysia more resilient in response towards future crises. Despite touting the plan as transformational, most of the elements contained in the document has already been raised as part of the discourse in the public sphere, such as on the lost generation of education and poverty reduction. Iskandar hoped that more deliberation through the parliamentary process will unveil more discussion points on it.
On the focus towards Bumiputera empowerment agenda, the political reality today necessitates it will still be part of the government narrative, especially since the current PN/BN regime needs to stick to its core credential as an affirmative action policy. However, the excessive focus on equity ownership target somewhat overshadowed the core goals of capacity building, and fails to motivate growth among those who are reliant on it. The current framing of the issue is rather divisive and politicians and society need to move away from it as a zero sum game and relook at our discussion on how to “kita jaga kita” in terms of empowerment.

All in all, there is still time to deliberate on how the 12MP will be received politically, as there are common grounds and differences to be deliberated upon until 7th October. The government should be open to incorporating feedback from other parties. A consultative approach is particularly important towards decision making, as seen through the Covid-19 crisis.

While much hype has been given to the target of Malaysia being a high-income, high-tech country by 2025, Iskandar reiterates that this should not be the be all end all goal for a nation. It’s citizens wellbeing, wealth distribution and sustainability concerns of the society should also be factors that be given importance too.

Lastly, credit must be given where due on addressing bureaucracy, but as the pandemic has shown, centralisation of power must also be addressed as there are different considerations to be made per region. Due consideration should be given to rethink the way policymaking is done in the decision-making process.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST HERE

Produced by: Azlyna Mohd Noor, Tasha Fusil, Alia Zefri

Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn, Sharmilla Ganesan